Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Salty, fatty goodness

Western One, always a source for interesting topics to discuss here, sent me this article today from the Atlantic about Chipotle v. McDonald's. Specifically, it compares the nutritional content of a carnitas burrito (with guac) to that of a Big Mac and seems to express some shock that the Big Mac comes out on top with respect to a variety of measures.

Sharing this article with me wasn't simply a "hey, look at this" move - I'm certain it was directly connected to my unabashed Chipotle obsession and my refusal to eat McDonald's. (caveat: every now and again, after a few too many drinks the night before, there is really nothing better than a Mickey D's hashbrown to soak up the nastys). I very distinctly remember my last McDonald's meat consumption - it was in Belfast. That's memorable, right? Faced with hours of driving through the Irish countryside while hungry enough to eat, um, Irish food, or inhaling the last meal option before leaving town, I gave in and ate McDonald's. I instantly regretted it. It wasn't any sort of ethical stance at that point, I just don't like the stuff and it doesn't agree with me. The more I've thought about food issues in recent years, the more my aversion has been buoyed.

I do, however, love love love Chipotle. I got hooked on the stuff while living in Ohio and thought maybe my insatiable desire for their wares was rooted in some nostalgia once I moved back here. Once I couldn't have it whenever I wanted it, I always wanted it. But no - it's here now and I still love it. Not every day, mind you, but it is my fast food go-to of choice. In full disclosure, I ate Chipotle when I knew it was owned by McDonald's and before I really understood (or they promoted) their current product sourcing efforts. While I can't say I paid nearly as much attention to such issues then as I did not, I also can't say that if I did, I would have given up Chipotle.

A couple of comments in response to the Atlantic article. Yes, I do appreciate that, as a company, Chipotle makes an effort to serve local (where possible), sustainable and ethical food. I do not expect them to be perfect, but I appreciate the effort. Maybe I am a sucker for buying the marketing line. I am ok with that because the food is yummy. Second, and most critically, I understand that a big 'ole Chipotle burrito is not "good" for me. I recognize that I should not have have it three times a week, and if I had kids I wouldn't feed it to them on a regular basis. Appreciating a company's product sourcing efforts and choosing to vote with my wallet to support such efforts does not mean that lose the ability to understand the concept of moderation. If that were the case, I wouldn't be able to eat Jeni's ice cream, and that, my friends is a life not worth living.

There is more to making good food choices than sodium and fat content.


  1. the burrito bowl is just as yummy! I can live w/out a tortilla :D

  2. Good point! Then it's totally healthy, right?